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Tax scam from behind bars: Prisoners forged forms, filed false returns


WORCESTER -- Two men have pleaded guilty to accusations of typing phony W-2 forms at a jail library while inmates to collect a total of $23,861 in illegal tax refunds, federal authorities said Thursday.

Jay Malone, 34, of Shrewsbury, entered the plea to a charge of tax conspiracy Thursday in U.S. District Court in Worcester. His alleged partner, Paul Anthony Barbieri, 30, of Auburn, entered his plea to the same charge Wednesday.

Prosecutors say they made 16 W-2 forms on a typewriter at the Worcester County Jail library in 1994-95. They allegedly used real names of inmates and employers, but fake earnings and tax withholdings. They then claimed the refunds.

Steven Ward, a lawyer for the U.S. Department of Justice, said he will recommend a sentence of 21 months for Malone and 12-18 months for Barbieri. Sentencing hearings were set for July 28 for Barbieri and the next day for Malone.

Ward said he had no information on why the two were in jail at the time of the scam. A spokesman for the state Department of Corrections did not immediately return a phone message.

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